Constitution Period Timeline

  • Jun 1, 1215

    Magna Carta Signed

    Magna Carta Signed
    (exact date unknown) The magna Carta was a document, much like the Constitution, created by the Barons of King John of England. It essentially stated the basic rights of citizens of England and that nobody would be unlawfully punished without fair trial. The document was essentially the first sign of law that was not the Kings word in England. The Magna Carta, in many ways was a major inspiration for the creators of the Constitution.
  • Mayflower Compact Signed

    Mayflower Compact Signed
    The Mayflower Compact was the written document that established fair and equal law for the passengers of the Mayflower. Each of the 41 adult males signed the contract and it was in effect in one way or another until 1691. The Mayflower compact stated that the signers would be joined together to form a government of sorts, that would establish laws for the colony, that were just and fair and abided the words of god and the king.
  • Formation of the New England Confederation

    Formation of the New England Confederation
    After suffering many Native American attacks, leaders in Hartford, Connecticut decided to form a plan of defense against these attacks. The result was a meeting between........
  • Albany Plan of Union Announced

    Albany Plan of Union Announced
    The Albany plan of Union was a plan that stated that England would approve of and support an official government in the United States, bringing the States together. It also stated that the State Constitutions would be left in tact, apart from some minor details that would be changed by the President-General from England appointed by the crown. It also stated that a grand council rule as well. The plan was not approved by England because they feared the entity that the plan would create.
  • Articles of Confederation Signed

    Articles of Confederation Signed
    The Articles of Confederation were an early Constitution in the United States. The Articles were only made for important laws, and exempted national taxation and trade regulation, as well as having a weak executive system. They were eventually replaced by the Constitution, but were the primary documents of law from March 1, 1781 to March 4, 1789, when they took effect (1787 when they were agreed upon).
  • Newburgh Conspiracy

    Newburgh Conspiracy
    The Newburgh Conspiracy was essentially anger and unrest in officers in the American Continental army due to many of them not recieving pay. George Washington stopped this issue from becoming serious by convincing the officers to support Congress supremecy. The officers were promised a lifetime of half pension pay; instead, Congress gave them five years of full pay.
  • Treaty of Paris (1783) Signed

    Treaty of Paris (1783) Signed
    After winning the American Revolutionary War, Congress selected John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry Laurens (Laurens was captured by the British before the end of the war) to negotiate a treaty between the British and Americans. The treaty effectively doubled the size of America, and in return the Americans stopped persecuting the loyalists. The treaty was named as such because it was signed in Paris.
  • Spain Closes Mississippi River

    Spain Closes Mississippi River
    In 1784, after arguing with the US over the boundaries of Florida, the Spanish shut off the Mississippi River, as well as New Orleans to the US, in order to settle the border of Florida. After signing Pinckney's Treaty, Spain reopened the Mississippi to the US.
  • Land Ordinance of 1785

    Land Ordinance of 1785
    After being given land in what is now the central-western US by the British after the Treaty of Paris, the government needed to sell off some of the land. The ordinance provided a method of selling and settling the land by dividing the land in to small square mile areas for purchase. The ordinance also set up the foundations for an education system in the land.
  • Ordinance of Religious Freedom

    Ordinance of Religious Freedom
    The Ordinance of Religious Freedom, also known as the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, was written by Thomas Jefferson and was the prequisite to the first ammendment right to the freedom of religion. The Ordinance was passed by the Virginia General Assembly and were strong influences on the right of religious freedom.
  • Shay's Rebellion

    Shay's Rebellion
    An uprising that took place in central and western Massachusetts during 1786 and 1787. The rebellion was named after Daniel Shay, one of the rebel leaders and a former Revolutionary War hero. The rebellion was caused by post war economic debt, difficulty due to lack of standard currency, and harsh laws devoted to solving the states debt problems.
  • Annapolis Convention

    A meeting called to fix defects in the Articles of Confederation, especially ones concerning trade and taxation. Eventually, it was decided that not enough states had shown up to the convention, so a request was sent to Congress and the states, asking to hold a meeting concerning the Articles of Confederation at a later time. The meeting that was requested produced the Constitution.
  • Constitutional Convention opens

    The Constitutional Convention was a meeting held to adress issues in governing America. The purpose of the meeting was to revise the Articles of Confederation, but thanks to people, such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, the government was revised entirely, resulting in the production of the Constitution.
  • The Great Compromise agreed to

    The Great Compromise was a plan agreed to by both large and small states at the Constitutional Convention. The plan was a combination of the Virginia & New Jersey plans, that set up the Legislative Branch. The plan called for a Senate with an equal amount of delegates from each state, and a House of Representatives, based on population. The plan was proposed on June 14, 1787, and was not settled until June 29, 1787.
  • Northwest Ordinance of 1787

    Northwest Ordinance of 1787
    The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was a bill that proposed that, the Northwest Territory be separated into no less than three, but no more than five states. It included a three part system for inducting new states. First a governer, secretary, and 3 judges ruled, then, when the pop. reached 5000 adult free males, they were given an elected assembly and a congressman and in phase three, they drafted a Constitution and requested to join the Union. This plan forbade slavery and encouraged education.
  • Federalist Papers appear

    The Federalist Papers were a collection of 85 essays, favoring and promoting the ratification of the Constitution. At the time that they were published, the authors were kept a secret, but it was speculated that John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton were some of the authors. After Alexander Hamilton's death, a list was released, naming most of the articles that he wrote.
  • Anti-Federalist articles appear

    The Anti-Federalist Articles were a collection of articles written in opposition of the Federalist Papers and the ratification of the Constitution. Unlike the Federalist Papers, they were not written as a specific group of essays, so it is difficult to determine which are considered the Anti-Federalist Articles. They especially adressed the fact that the Constitution did not have a Bill of Rights. It is difficult to say when they appeared, but it was shortly after the Federalist Papers did.
  • Delaware ratifies the Constitution

    Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution. This was no insignificant act, as it led to the formation of the government that we have today. It set in motion the ratification of the Constitution by the other states.
  • Massachusetts ratifies the Constitution

    Massachusetts was the sixth state to ratify the Constitution, as well as the first to include a list of wanted changes. The changes included ones that protected the states and others that protected the people. Massachusetts was the first state to propose possible ammendments to the Constitution and is recognized for it.
  • New Hampshire ratifies the Constitution

    New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution. The New Hampshire ratification document had several suggested changes to the Constitution;the most famous of which stated that Congress cannot disarm a citizen, unless they have committed an act of rebellion (right to bear arms). Some of the other suggestions included the right to religious freedom and the right to trial by jury. New Hampshire made a large contribution to the Bill of Rights with their ratification document.
  • Congress meets for the 1st time

    Congress under the United States Constitution, met for the first time on March 4, 1789, and continued meeting for the first two years of Washington's presidency (through March 3, 1791). During this period of time, both Senate and House officials were appointed, George Washington was elected by the electoral college, the patent system was established, the Judiciary act of 1789 was passed, etc.
  • George Wahington elected President

    George Washington was unanimously voted president by the 69 officials of the electoral college and innaugurated on April 30, 1789. He chose John Adams as his vice-president and was re-elected again after his first term. Washington was offered a salary of 25000 dollars a year, which he declined, already being wealthy and viewing himself as a public servant (he later accepted to avoid misconceptions).
  • Bill of Rights sent to the states for ratification

    The ratification of the Bill of Rights was not a problem. Many Anti-Federalists did not support the Constitution because of its lack of a Bill of Rights, so when presented with an opportunity to add one, appreciated it. Others also supported the Bill of Rights, due to its adressing of the rights of an individual. The rights listed were fair, and therefore, there was not much opposition to the Bill of Rights, which is why it achieved its majority vote.
  • Bill of Rights ratified

    The Bill of Rights were the first ten ammendments in the US constitution. The Bill of Rights were easily ratified with a two-thirds majority vote, required to pass the bill. The Bill of Rights was enacted soon afterwards and is still the primary document of American rights today.